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Neuromuscul Disord. 2002 Mar;12(3):273-80.

Primary gamma-sarcoglycanopathy (LGMD 2C): broadening of the mutational spectrum guided by the immunohistochemical profile.

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Division of Genetics, Children's Hospital, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, USA.


An important step in the diagnostic evaluation of a patient with recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophy is the immunohistochemical analysis of the components of the sarcoglycan complex in a muscle biopsy specimen. Even though a primary mutation in any of the four sarcoglycan genes (alpha-, beta-,gamma-, delta-sarcoglycan) may cause secondary deficiencies in all the other sarcoglycan proteins, more specific immunohistochemical patterns have emerged with the potential to guide and abbreviate the necessary molecular genetic investigations. In gamma-sarcoglycan mutations, the pattern consists of absent or prominently reduced gamma-sarcoglycan immunoreactivity in combination with reduced but detectable immunoreactivity for the other components, with preservation of delta-sarcoglycan. In five consecutive patients, this pattern was able to predict primary gamma-sarcoglycan mutations. Five different mutations were found, including a recurrent novel splice mutation, a large deletion of the entire gene and a novel missense mutation (Leu90Ser). The mutation Cys283Tyr, previously restricted to Gypsy populations was found in compound heterozygosity with del521T, common in north Africa. The variety of known and novel mutations found indicates that the immunohistochemical profile of gamma-sarcoglycan mutations is not restricted to a particular mutation or type of mutation, but rather is a general reflection of the effect of gamma-sarcoglycan mutations on the composition of the sarcoglycan complex. Complete immunohistochemical analysis with all available sarcoglycan antibodies, therefore, is a useful tool to guide the molecular genetic investigations that are necessary to arrive at the correct genetic diagnosis in a given case.

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